For his doctorate awarded on Tuesday, 4 April, TU Delft researcher Antonio Jarquin Laguna investigated the possibility of a ‘hydraulic’ offshore wind farm. It involves the direct drive mechanism of the wind turbine being replaced by a positive displacement pump, which is used to bring pressurised seawater into a hydraulic network.

The growth of offshore wind is clearly seen from the major wind farms being planned and built in the North Sea, achieving capacities in the GW (GigaWatt) scale. Currently, electricity produced by each wind turbine in a wind farm is fed back to a central offshore platform before being transported to shore through subsea cables on the seabed. As such, an offshore wind farm can be seen as a power plant that produces electricity by means of hundreds of different generators.

Water technology

Antonio Jarquin Laguna investigated the idea of centralised electricity production in a wind farm for which only a few high-capacity generators are necessary. For this, he explored a new way of generating, combining and transmitting wind energy within an offshore wind farm with no intermediate electrical conversion until the energy has reached the central offshore platform.

It is done by means of water technology. In the proposed concept, the conventional gearbox or direct drive mechanism of the wind turbine is replaced by a positive displacement pump, which is used to bring pressurised seawater into a hydraulic network. The water is brought together under high pressure from the wind turbines in the wind farm and fed back to the central offshore platform, where electricity is generated by a so-called Pelton turbine.

Results

Jarquin Laguna conducted simulations of a hypothetical hydraulic wind farm subjected to turbulent wind conditions. The performance of individual turbines was compared to those of a wind farm with conventional technology turbines, with the same layout and environmental conditions. The results indicate that the hydraulic wind farm is able to achieve a satisfactory performance despite the introduction of turbulent wind conditions and wake effects.

More information

You can read the publication via doi:10.4233/uuid:9a8812d1-d152-4a68-bd17-c88261f06481

Contact:
Dr. Ir. Antonio Jarquin Laguna, Offshore Engineering and board member Ocean Energy TU Delft, A.JarquinLaguna@tudelft.nl, 015 2788030
Sharita Balgobind, Press Officer TU Delft, U.S.Balgobind@tudelft.nl, 015 2781588